The Music Factory

The Music Factory

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We sat on the floor, surrounded by music memorabilia, shooting pictures during one guitar lesson, then another and another, and then suddenly in one magical hair-raising moment the teacher suddenly joined the student, and for 10 seconds it was pure heaven as the two instruments harmonized.
For those brief seconds it was the teacher, saying with music rather than words, "attaboy, you're on the right track." There were smiles exchanged that punctuated the momentary silence that followed, and the lesson continued. Or had that been a part of the learning experience too?
For those who don't know who John DeFoore is, stay with us here for a few minutes and we'll attempt to tell you about the "music factory" or what he prefers to call the DeFoore Music Institute.
He is one of the entertainment and musical gems in East Texas and we don't have to say that ourselves. There is a trail of success to follow. Three of his pupils, Miranda Lambert, Casey Rivers and Kacey Musgraves, became finalists on the Nashville Star TV show.
Former student and current County Western Star Lambert once wrote him a note saying "Tuesdays @ 3:30 are the highlight of my week," and later she called him "a hero in my eyes and an inspiration."
He's played in more than two dozen bands over the years, played and taught guitar in London, England in the late 1960s and early 1970s and later in Dallas, before settling in East Texas where he bought the historic Beckham Hotel located across the street from the train depot. It is much like a museum, having been built in the 1880s.
We first met John when he and Ray Wylie Hubbard were pickin' one evening at DeFoore's Piney Woods Pickin' Parlor, which was located in an upstairs ballroom.
It was a cozey venue, with entertainers from Europe, Canada and across the U.S. listed among those who found their way to Mineola and DeFoore's antique hotel.
Today there are six teachers that help between 120 and 130 young musicians learn the intricacies of writing and playing.
The late Randy Prince was among those who taught in the Beckham until his death in May 2009. "Prince was the best guitar player in five states," DeFoore said.
DeFoore teaches 65 to 70 students weekly and pays compliments to the younger generation when he says "these kids make their own CDs and the quality can be quite surprising."
To show an example of what he was talking about he played 30 seconds of studio-sounding music that, DeFoore said, was recorded by one of his students using a laptop computer that the student had set up in his bedroom.
His students, he calls, "my babies" and in many cases they are stunningly good.
For those interested in learning more about DeFoore, simply go to his website, johndefoore.com.